Pet Surgery at La Crosse Veterinary Clinic
Our state-of-the-art surgical suite is fully equipped with a heated, hydraulic lift table, electrocautery, modern monitoring devices, inhalation anesthesia, and LASER. We perform many routine elective surgeries such as spays, neuters, and declaws as well as orthopedic, ophthalmic, soft tissue, and abdominal procedures.
We make every effort to ensure your pet’s surgical experience is as comfortable and uncomplicated as possible. Your pet’s safety and comfort are our chief concerns. We also want you to feel assured that your pet will be cared for by warm and gentle staff, and our standards for surgical care are top quality. Today, pets of all ages and most health conditions are acceptable candidates for anesthesia. While anesthesia is not without risk, many factors contribute to the safety and widespread use of anesthetics in veterinary practice.
To learn about our surgical options and anesthesia protocol, click on the headers below.
La Crosse Veterinary Clinic remains on the cutting edge of veterinary medicine and surgery by offering laser surgery. This exciting and important technology is used daily by the doctors of our facility to provide the most advanced and compassionate medical care for your pet.
What Is a LASER and How Does It Work?
LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission Radiation. In short, it is a device that generates a beam of light energy at a specific wavelength. The first laser was developed in 1960 with widespread use in human surgery in the late 1980's. The most commonly used surgical laser is the carbon dioxide laser. The wavelength of the carbon dioxide laser beam is absorbed into the water found in skin and other soft tissue, vaporizing the cells, thereby cutting tissue. The surgeon can control the extent to which it is absorbed into the surrounding tissue, allowing extreme surgical precision. The laser is superior to stainless steel scalpel blades for many procedures.
What Are the Benefits of Laser Surgery?
- Decreased pain levels are accomplished when the laser seals nerve endings as it cuts through tissue. This reduces pain impulses from the surgery site.
- Reduced bleeding is achieved through cauterization of blood vessels as the laser beam vaporizes tissue.
- Reduced risk of infection due to the super-heating of tissue in the incision site that destroys any bacteria
What Surgeries Can Be Performed with the Laser?
Almost any soft-tissue surgery may be performed with the laser. Routine procedures such as spays and neuters are commonly done with the laser. We perform Declaws using only the laser. The laser is also used for skin tumor removals, eyelid, and mouth surgeries. Please be sure to ask a veterinarian or staff member if you have questions about laser surgery.
In collaboration with local veterinarian Dr. Steven Timm, we are pleased to offer orthopedic and complex surgical procedures for our patients right here in our own facility.
Common procedures include:
- Ligament repair of anterior cruciate ruptures and meniscal tears
- Simple and complex fracture repairs using intermedullary pins, cerclage wire, bone plates, screws, and external fixators
- Luxation repairs including patella, elbow, shoulder, hip, and stifle
- Femoral head ostectomy
- Gastric dilatation volvulus
- Perineal urethrostomy
- Diaphragmatic hernia repair
Anesthesia brings about a state of unconsciousness so the patient is not aware of what is going on. It also blocks the body’s reaction to a painful stimulus, causes muscle relaxation, inhibits reflexes, and minimizes stress and anxiety for an animal. Anesthesia is necessary for many procedures including surgery, dentistry, and sometimes X-rays.
Many pet owners are concerned when the veterinarian recommends a procedure that requires anesthesia. General anesthesia is used every day in veterinary practices all over the world, including ours.
Is Anesthesia Safe?
While it is not completely without risk, many factors allow us feel confident that the benefit from an anesthetized procedure far outweighs the risk of anesthesia, including:
- Pre-anesthetic Testing
- Improved anesthetic drugs
- State-of-the-art monitoring equipment
- Increased veterinary expertise and experience
The depth and type of anesthesia can vary depending on the procedure necessary. There are intravenous, intra-muscular, and inhalation options available for the veterinarian to choose from. Many times, a combination of multiple anesthetics including pain medications are used.
What to Expect Before, During, and After Surgery
"Surgery" can be a frightening word when it comes to your four-legged companion, so we make it a personal goal to detail the steps of what you can expect, should your pet ever need surgery, to give you peace of mind. Please refer to the sections below to learn more about the phases of surgery here at La Crosse Veterinary Clinic.
When you arrive for your pre-surgery visit, scheduled up to one week prior to your pet's surgery, your pet will be weighed and a pre-anesthetic physical exam will be performed by the veterinarian. The procedure(s) and available options will be discussed, an estimate of cost will be presented to you, and the Pre-Anesthetic Consent Form will be completed. This form contains phone numbers where you can be reached throughout the day, authorization to perform the procedure, and payment methods.
Next, blood is drawn for pre-anesthetic analysis. Pre-anesthetic lab work is vital to determine your pet’s readiness for surgery and anesthesia, so the veterinarian can customize an anesthesia plan just for your pet. The tests are completed in just a few minutes, and the veterinarian will contact you if there are any abnormalities.
Day of Surgery
On the day of surgery, you and your pet will be briefly admitted by a surgery technician. Any last minute concerns or changes can be addressed before leaving your pet with us for the day. Pain management is paramount at La Crosse Veterinary Clinic, so before your pet ever receives anesthesia, we will administer pain medication first. Studies have proven that pre-empting pain is much more efficient in controlling it later on and also reduces the amount of anesthesia necessary.
While your pet waits for surgery, he/she will rest in a kennel. We provide separate facilities for cats and dogs. Our staff has your pet’s wellbeing in mind at all steps along the way. Our kennels are warm, soft, and safe. We treat each pet as an individual and try to offer them all the comforts of home.
As your pet approaches his/her surgery time, an intravenous catheter may be placed for the delivery of medications, anesthesia, or fluid therapy. I.V. fluids aid in maintaining good hydration, replacing blood loss, and sustaining blood pressure. Pre-anesthetic medications and pain relievers may be given to help relax your pet and prepare him/her for anesthesia.
Next, your pet will receive anesthesia, and a technician will perform a sterile surgery preparation. Surgery prep usually involves clipping away fur near the incision site and sterilizing the skin with an antiseptic solution. A sterile lubricant will be placed in your pet’s eyes for protection during surgery, and we will also trim your pet’s toenails at no additional cost.
Once surgery prep is complete, your pet will be moved into our sterile surgical suite. Your pet’s body temperature will be monitored and maintained through a variety of methods, including our heated table. Heart rate, respiration, EKG, blood pressure, and pulse oximetry are other vital signs that we can monitor closely during your pet’s surgery. Besides our monitoring equipment, a veterinary technician is beside your pet at all times, continuously watching over him/her. The veterinarian then drapes the pet and begins the procedure. Anesthesia and vital signs are constantly monitored, and additional medications may be given for pain or anesthesia as needed.
Once your pet’s surgery is complete, anesthesia will be gradually reduced, more pain medication may be given, and your pet will recover in a warm, soft kennel under the watching eyes of a technician. The veterinarian or technician will then phone you for an update on your pet. For the next few hours, your pet will be placed under observation as his/her body gradually clears any remaining anesthesia and returns to normal.
Later that afternoon, more pain medication may be administered as needed, and dogs will be walked outside. Most pets are normally ready for discharge between 4 to 5pm. Overnight patients will be offered food and water the next morning and are able to be discharged after 9am.
When you arrive to collect your pet, the procedure and any recommendations or medication will be discussed. You will receive printed discharge instructions specific to your pet, and payment will be taken. We will inform you of your pet’s post-operative condition and answer any questions that you may have. Finally, we will bring out your pet who has been eagerly awaiting your arrival, and send you home together. We are always available if you have questions about your pet's recovery at any time!
Supplemental Surgical Information
For your convenience, we have created handouts with an Explanation of an Itemized Surgical Treatment Plan and information about the Surgical Procedures at La Crosse Veterinary Clinic. If you have any questions or concerns about our surgical services or anesthesia protocols, please feel free to Contact Us at (608) 781-3466.